A catapult, knitting machine, autonomous car, and robot were among the many student-designed projects on display last week as part of course presentations at Florida Polytechnic University.
Dr. Rawa Adla is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering who teaches the microprocessors class that prompted the diverse designs. She said the presentations on Wednesday, Dec. 6, were part of a course assignment.
“The students were tasked to work in teams to incorporate what they learned in class into a real-life system,” Adla said. “They had to implement processor, memory, and other peripherals with different types of sensors to generate an output to meet technical parameters. Students were asked to be creative and were free to choose any real-world system design of their interest for their projects.”
Electrical engineering juniors Mackenzie Stanfield and Andres Cortes built a line-following robot, which autonomously senses when it may veer off a path and instead keeps a predefined line in the center of its travel path.
“We’re both proud that we were able to incorporate our education and actually make something we didn’t at first feel confident doing,” Stanfield said. “I was the parts person, so this gave me the confidence to know that I used wire and solder and connected all the pieces with the voltage and the DC motors and got it to work.”
Conner Gentry and Anthony Parrinello, also juniors majoring in electrical engineering, built a passcode door lock. It required a major late-stage shift to solve an unexpected problem with the project.
“This has been a lot like how it would happen in the field or on the job,” Gentry said. “Your boss says you need to do this, so you go and figure out a way to do it.”
A few tables away, juniors Prisca Chavannes, Jonathan Ponce, and Gabriel Hernandez exhibited their microcontroller catapult. The team with electrical engineering major Chavannes and computer engineering majors Ponce and Hernandez, challenged itself to take on a significant mechanical engineering challenge in addition to the required microprocessor component.
The team’s approach was to take small steps toward success and then build on those, rather than tackling the whole project at once.
“We started with ‘How can we get this moving?’ and then once we did that, we shifted the goal a little to, ‘How can we have it move in a set order with set timing?” Hernandez said.
“Overall, this was a testament to the engineering process,” Ponce added. “You’re going to have something that works and then you have an idea to maybe make it better and tweak it, but then maybe it doesn’t work anymore, and you have to go through everything and try to solve the problem. “It was a great experience.”
Adla said all the presenting students had much to be proud of.
“They proved that they are up to the challenge whenever they have the chance to develop great things,” she said. “They showed inspiration and innovation in their system design and implementation for their final course project.”
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